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July 16--A bill awaiting Gov. Deval Patrick's signature would help homeowners by capping increasing flood insurance rates.
The bill the state Senate sent to Patrick on Monday would prohibit creditors from requiring that owners of residential properties with one to four units buy flood insurance in an amount that exceeds the outstanding balance of their mortgage, home equity line of credit or home equity loan.
Should the homeowner decide to buy flood insurance that only covers the balance of the mortgage, the creditor must provide a notice to the homeowner that explains they are buying flood insurance that may not be sufficient to cover all losses.
"This bill will offer protection to families who could face unsustainable rate increases through no fault of their own," Attorney General Martha Coakley said.
A spokeswoman for Patrick, who has eight more days to sign the bill, declined to comment.
Daniel Foley, vice president of government affairs and general counsel for the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents, said the bill, combined with one President Obama signed into law earlier this year limiting flood insurance premium increases to no more than 18 percent a year, "will at least stem the tide" of often dramatic increases resulting from a federal law intended to make the national flood insurance program solvent.
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